I remember it like it was yesterday…

My wife and I, at the age of 24, started looking for our first house. Our son wasn’t even one year old yet. It was always in the plan. We didn’t really like the idea of renting, so we sucked it up and lived with family for a year or so after we got married. (Luckily for us, we had a whole floor to ourselves and plenty of privacy. Not everyone has that opportunity.)

I wasn’t in the real estate biz yet, so we connected with a family friend who was a Realtor. Our budget was pretty constraining, so we didn’t have to look at many before we found the one. What a nerve-racking, yet exciting time it was – to imagine what we could make this house – to imagine making it a home. And it was certainly a good one. We have so many fond memories there, and we still do an occasional drive-by every now and then to reminisce about those times early in our marriage, raising our son, and bringing our daughter home there. For us, and many others, owning a home has been one of the biggest factors in building memories.

Have you started to consider this “making memories” factor? Are you tired of sinking rent money into someone else’s pocket? Would you like to have freedom over your living space and making it your own? Whatever the motivation for wanting to purchase your first house, you’ll definitely want to consider the right timing first.

Here are 5 signs you’re ready to buy:

Positive Career Path

Largely known fact: It takes money to buy a house. Savings account aside, you’ll want to make sure your current and future income can support the monthly payments you’re taking on. If you’re fresh out of school and still searching for some consistency, it’s probably not the best time to buy.

Food for thought: Would you gain a sense of confidence and/or motivation in your career, if you owned your home vs. leasing it?


You Feel At Home

The Greater Richmond Area is definitely my home. I’ve lived in various places around town (e.g., Chesterfield, Powhatan, “the Fan), but have never lived out of state, or even out of the general area. “Am I going to move out-of-town anytime soon?” was not a question I really had to ask myself.

Maybe you’re not sure where your short-term career path will take you; or maybe your dream to move to Bora Bora is starting to look realistic. On the other hand, if you feel at home, you love your friends, and you’re comfortable at work, it could be time to make the move.


Relationship Goals

This is probably one of the most common reasons I see first-time homebuyers make the move to purchase. There’s something about buying a home that solidifies a relationship, and states “we’re ready for the next step.” If you’re engaged to be married or have been with your partner for a long time now, it may be time to consider taking that step.

Years from now you probably won’t remember what you paid for your house(s) throughout life, but you’ll certainly remember the memories you made there. Sure, it’s a financial investment, but even more so, it’s a relationship and family investment.


Sick of Renting

People who know I’m in real estate say this kind of thing all the time. “I’d love to buy a house.” “I’m sick of renting.” “I’m tired of pouring money into something I’ll never get back.” “We’re just not financially ready yet.” While financial readiness is super important, I wonder how many of these people have seriously looked into the option. Which ones have called a good lender to see if they’d qualify for a mortgage, and if so, for how much, and what their monthly payment would be. What if it actually saved you money every month?

You don’t meet a whole lot of first-time homebuyers that are “middle-aged” or older, but it certainly does happen. Some people just get in a routine; they get busy with life. If all of the other points from this blog apply though, and you’ve been renting in the same area for a couple of years, it’s probably time to buy.


You Love HGTV

Ok – this header is a bit sarcastic – but seriously, if you watch shows like Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, or Property Brothers, you’re probably going to get the itch to do some home improvement; and I’ll bet there’s a good chance that you won’t be doing much improving at your rental (and if you do, I’d argue it’s a bad investment).

Even if you don’t care about finding a “fixer upper” home of your own, like my wife and I have done twice now, eventually you might want to paint the walls, change out the fixtures, or spruce up the landscape. You might want to use your own creative nature to shape the place you live in. And, if you’re starting to feel that creativity inside of you, there’s a good chance it’s time to buy.


What’s Next?

If any of these five points have hit home for you, I’d love to have a conversation with you. If it’s not the right time, you can bet I’ll advise you in the right direction. If you are ready, I can help you with the first steps of the journey. Just reach out!

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.